Malaysians kickstarted 2017 with news of price hikes. From fuel to mackerel, locals will see an increase in prices of items as the economy hits tumultuous times.
In line with that, a local economist has opined that Malaysians will need to be more careful and stringent with their spending habits.
Speaking to Free Malaysia Today (FMT), Professor Yeah Kim Leng from Sunway University Business School, said that 2017 will be particularly difficult for middle-income earners in Malaysia.
As a solution, Yeah suggested people who fall into the middle-income group to look into starting their own e-businesses and switching to shopping online
Explaining that 2017 is the best time to make the transition to Internet economy which is full of varieties and options, Yeah said that all these options would allow people to make smarter and more beneficial purchases and create opportunities.
"This group cannot be spending the way they used to. This year is a test of how good the urban middle class is at finding cheaper alternatives," added Yeah, as reported by FMT yesterday, 3 January.
The former chief economist for RAM Holdings group, also stressed on some of the perks of shopping online like rebates and cashback returns
"There are several online grocery shopping services at the moment in Malaysia but they are not that cheap. It is good to look out for new services that offer cheaper alternatives," said Yeah.
Meanwhile, speaking about people who are looking to earn some extra money, Yeah suggested them to consider things like homemade meals delivery, renting out extra spaces in their house with Airbnb or driving for Uber or GrabCar.
"The possibilities are endless. Malaysians will just have to do their market research and do things that fit their lifestyles and passions," added Yeah.
If the middle income group make wiser choices with their daily expenses, grocery and insurance bills, they would have the extra cash to start e-businesses, said Yeah.
As for tertiary education expenses, Yeah also advised parents against sending their children to study overseas, especially if they haven't saved up or have college funds for their children
"The upper-middle income group or the rich can afford to do that at the moment. For those who have not saved up for their children’s education overseas, it is better to look for local alternatives."
"It's not about being stingy, but beating the situation with cheaper alternatives. This is the only way for the middle income earner to be debt free in 2017," said Yeah.
How are you coping with the recent price hikes? Let us know how your experiences with the dipping economical situation have been in the comment section below!